Situated in the heart of the Silicon Prairie (the western Chicago suburbs), Silvon Software is a leading developer and supplier of cross-platform decision support systems for manufacturing, distribution and retail enterprises throughout the world. Michael J. Hennel, president and chief executive officer of Silvon Software, is one of the company's four original founders. Hennel and the other three founders, Marty Acks, Frank Bunker and Bill Skowera, all came from Pansophic Systems, a midrange company that in 1987 was working with IBM on a prototype server--Silver Lake--which became IBM's AS/400.

The four left Pansophic Systems to form Silvon. Hennel and the other founders felt strongly that the AS/400 was probably going to be one of the last midrange servers that would actually pull a software company. In fact, the name these founders chose for their fledgling company was a play on words for "on Silver Lake." While "on Silver Lake" sounds like an idyllic location, those words described the foundation for the company's technology and not their original corporate offices. Hennel explains, "When we started out, we were fortunate that Xerox was a client of ours. They let us sublease space from them in a converted warehouse that was a mainframe data center. We had solid, one-foot metal doors with the two-foot concrete walling into a raised bunker--and no windows! When someone came to visit us, it was like trying to get into Fort Knox. But there were some benefits--we had basketball courts out in the back and huge outdoor barbecues on Fridays."

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